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How Political Interest is Divided by Language on Facebook in Malaysia (July 2017)

1. Introduction

This document provides a measurement of the political party interests of Facebook users in Malaysia. This is based on public information collected from Facebook.

Some important notes to remember when interpreting Facebook figures:

  1. Total population refers to Facebook users aged 13 years and above.
  2. Potential voters refer to Facebook users aged 21 years and above.
  3. Youth refers to Facebook users aged 13 – 20 years.
  4. Gender breakdown figures do not always add up to the total. This may be due to Facebook users not sharing their gender, and also due to rounding errors in statistics provided by Facebook. State breakdown figures also do not add up to the total due to the same rounding errors.
  5. Detailed statistics on Putrajaya are not available due to the small number of users in the territory.
  6. Figures provided by Facebook are estimates. Some inaccuracies are to be expected, e.g. the sum of state totals not being equal to the national total.
  7. Facebook users residing in Malaysia are not necessarily Malaysian citizens.
  8. Interest in a topic is equal to the number of users expressing interest in a topic.
    1. To measure interest we used a combination of Facebook Interests (a collection of interests, activities, groups, pages, status updates and job history identified by a common term determined by Facebook e.g. ‘United Malays National Organization’) and specific Group and Page names (e.g. Friends of BN).
    2. These are used to collect the number of users interested in a given party/coalition/politician/group. For example, a user mentioning a party name in a status update; sharing a news link related to the party or sharing content from a party-affiliated page would count towards the total interest in that party
    3. Interest in a political party does not indicate support for the party, only awareness
    4. It is currently assumed that interest in PAS includes some interest in AMANAH as PAS leaders and members migrated to AMANAH
  9. Audience refers to the population of users that express interest in a topic. Unless indicated, the audiences used in this report are composed of potential voters (users in Malaysia aged 21 years and above).
  10. Based on our research to date, Pages that are of type ‘politician’ are not always included under related Facebook Topics. For example, not all ‘Tony Pua’ (MP, PJ Utara, DAP) Page likes are included under interest in ‘DAP’. However, because Facebook does not make Topic details available we cannot easily determine which politicians, if any, were included.
  11. Statistics on the Opposition primarily refer to component parties of the former Pakatan Rakyat – PKR, PAS and DAP. This includes the ‘Pakatan’ brand name.
  12. July 2017 statistics were collected during a 2-week period in July 2017. As such there may be some differences in totals for political parties when comparing different sections due to changes in collected statistics.
  13. Statistics on the 2017 1st Quarter electoral roll are estimates based on published changes to the 2016 gazetted roll. Ethnic breakdown for new voters are based on profiling methods that we developed and should be considered estimates.

2. List of Acronyms

The following table shows a list of acronyms used in this document.

Acronym Full name
PR Pakatan Rakyat
PH Pakatan Harapan
BN Barisan Nasional
UMNO United Malays National Organisation
GERAKAN Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (also known as PGRM)
MCA Malaysian Chinese Association
MIC Malaysian Indian Congress
PBB Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu Sarawak
PKR Parti Keadilan Rakyat
DAP Democratic Action Party
AMANAH Parti Amanah Negara
PAS Parti Islam Se-Malaysia
PPBM Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia

3. An Overview of Malaysia’s Facebook User Population (July 2017)

3.1 Division by Age and Gender

There are currently 24 million Facebook users in Malaysia. 54.17% are men and 45.83% are women.

From this total, 19 million users are aged 21 years and above. 52.63% are men and 47.37% are women. These are the potential voters on Facebook.

The chart below shows the population distribution by age group. The largest segment of the population is aged between 21 – 30 years.

wp_langdivide_chart1

The table below shows the distribution of Facebook users by state, sorted by the total population:

State Total
(13+ yrs)
Male (%) Female (%) % of Malaysia
Perlis 40,000 52.50 47.50 0.17
Labuan 170,000 52.35 46.47 0.71
Kelantan 290,000 51.72 44.83 1.21
Terengganu 370,000 51.35 48.65 1.54
Negeri Sembilan 380,000 55.26 47.37 1.58
Melaka 390,000 53.85 46.15 1.63
Pahang 500,000 54.00 48.00 2.08
Kedah 610,000 54.10 47.54 2.54
Perak 880,000 51.14 48.86 3.67
Penang 990,000 51.52 48.48 4.13
Sabah 1,000,000 53.00 47.00 4.17
Sarawak 1,100,000 51.82 45.45 4.58
Johor 1,900,000 57.89 45.79 7.92
KL + Selangor 15,000,000 56.67 42.67 62.50

 

The table below shows the distribution of Facebook users by state aged 21 years and above.

State Total (>=21 yrs) Male (%) Female (%) % of Msia (>=21 yrs) % of State (>=21 yrs)
Perlis 33,000 51.52 48.48 0.17 82.50
Labuan 140,000 52.14 45.71 0.74 82.35
Kelantan 230,000 52.17 43.48 1.21 79.31
Terengganu 290,000 51.72 48.28 1.53 78.38
Negeri Sembilan 310,000 54.84 48.39 1.63 81.58
Melaka 320,000 53.13 46.88 1.68 82.05
Pahang 400,000 55.00 47.50 2.11 80.00
Kedah 490,000 53.06 46.94 2.58 80.33
Perak 710,000 50.70 47.89 3.74 80.68
Sabah 790,000 53.16 46.84 4.16 79.00
Penang 840,000 50.00 47.62 4.42 84.85
Sarawak 840,000 53.57 46.43 4.42 76.36
Johor 1,600,000 55.00 45.00 8.42 84.21
KL + Selangor 12,000,000 56.67 44.17 63.16 80.00

 

Based on the last column we can see that Sarawak, Terengganu, Kelantan and Sabah have the highest proportion of young users (below 21 years).

As of 2017 Quarter 1, an estimated 21.64% of registered voters reside in KL and Selangor. In the National Census 2010, 24.35% of Malaysia’s citizens and 24.11% of Malaysia’s total population reside in KL and Selangor.

However according to statistics from Facebook, 62.50% of Facebook users in Malaysia reside in KL and Selangor. This includes Malaysians and foreigners who live there. This is an increase from 50% in August 2016.

The heavy concentration of users in KL and Selangor means that trending content in Malaysia in terms of shares and likes might not reflect what the country is talking about. When it comes to the analysis of interest in local issues such as politics, it is therefore important to evaluate the interests of users in different states.

3.2 Division by Language

The chart below shows the number of potential voters by language used on Facebook, based on information they have shared with Facebook:

wp_langdivide_chart2

Hindi/Tamil = users who use Hindi or Tamil. Only 20 thousand users use both languages

If we added the totals together there would be 30 million users. Given that there are only 19 million Facebook users, there is an overlap between users from each group. Many users speak multiple languages.

93% of potential voters on Facebook use English, Malay or Chinese languages. Because of this high coverage, we were able to design a set of formulas to break up these users into smaller, identifiable groups based on different combinations of spoken languages. The population of users in these groups can then be estimated. The results of this analysis are in the table below:

Language Group Code % of Population (>=21 years) Description
Bilingual Malay + English BME 40.26 Users who speak Malay and English. May also speak other languages except Chinese.
English Only / English + Other languages EO 19.21 Users who speak English but do not speak Malay or Chinese. May also speak other languages.
Malay Only / Malay + Other languages MO 13.95 Users who speak Malay but do not speak English or Chinese. May also speak other languages.
Bilingual Chinese + English BCE 12.37 Users who speak both Chinese and English. May also speak other languages except Malay.
Other Languages Only OTH 7.11 Users who do not speak English, Malay or Chinese
Chinese Only / Chinese + Other languages CO 3.42 Users who speak Chinese but do not speak English or Malay. May also speak other languages.
Bilingual Malay + Chinese BMC 1.84 Users who speak both Malay and Chinese. May also speak other languages except English.
Trilingual Malay + English + Chinese TRI 1.84 Users who speak English, Malay and Chinese. May also speak other languages.

 

The proportion of each group is summarised in the chart below.

wp_langdivide_chart3

From the chart we can observe that:

  • The Bilingual Malay + English (BME) group is both the largest group of users and largest subset of Malay speakers in the country
  • Most Malay speakers on Facebook understand English
  • The Bilingual Chinese + English (BCE) group is the 4th largest group of users and largest subset of Chinese speakers in the country
  • Most Chinese speakers on Facebook understand English
  • A minority of users (3.68%, 700 thousand) speak combinations of Malay and Chinese

Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by politweet

October 11, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Recent Trends in Political Party Interest on Facebook in Malaysia (Aug 2016)

1. Introduction

This document provides a measurement of the political party interests of Facebook users in Malaysia. This is based on public information collected from Facebook.

Some important notes to remember when interpreting Facebook figures:

  1. Total population refers to Facebook users aged 13 years and above.
  2. Potential voters refer to Facebook users aged 21 years and above.
  3. Youth refers to Facebook users aged 13 – 20 years.
  4. Gender breakdown figures do not add up to the total. This may be due to Facebook users not sharing their gender, and also due to rounding errors by Facebook when dealing with specific age groups. State breakdown figures also do not add up to the total, due to the same rounding errors.
  5. Figures provided by Facebook are estimates. Some inaccuracies are to be expected.
  6. Facebook users residing in Malaysia are not necessarily Malaysian citizens.
  7. Interest in a topic is equal to the number of users expressing interest in a topic.
    1. To measure interest we used a combination of Facebook Interests (a collection of interests, activities, groups, pages, status updates and job history identified by a common term determined by Facebook e.g. ‘United Malays National Organization’) and specific Group and Page names (e.g. Friends of BN).
    2. These are used to collect the number of users interested in a given party/coalition/politician/group. For example, a user mentioning a party name in a status update; sharing a news link related to the party or sharing content from a party-affiliated page would count towards the total interest in that party
    3. Interest in a political party does not indicate support for the party, only awareness
    4. It is assumed that interest in PAS includes interest in AMANAH as PAS leaders migrated to AMANAH
  8. Audience refers to the population of users that express interest in a topic.
  9. Based on our research to date, Pages that are of type ‘politician’ are not always included under related Facebook Topics. For example, not all ‘Tony Pua’ (MP, PJ Utara, DAP) Page likes are included under interest in ‘DAP’. However because Facebook does not make Topic details available we cannot easily determine which politicians, if any, were included.
  10. Statistics on the Opposition primarily refer to component parties of the former Pakatan Rakyat – PKR, PAS and DAP. Interest in PSM is included in total statistics for the Opposition, but is not listed separately due to its small audience.

 

2. Interest in Political Parties on Facebook

The following graph shows the partisanship of interest in political parties by Facebook users in Malaysia aged 21 years and above. Interest in PAS is assumed to include interest in AMANAH because Facebook has not made separate AMANAH figures available yet.

FBPartisanship_Aug15_Aug16

Out of 8.4 million users in Malaysia (aged 21 years and above) that are interested in BN or Opposition parties:

  • 54% are male and 46% are female
  • 3 million are interested in Opposition parties
  • 8 million are interested in BN parties
  • 76% (400 thousand) are exclusively interested in Opposition parties
  • 52% (2.9 million) are interested in a mix of Opposition and BN parties
  • 71% (5.1 million) are exclusively interested in BN parties

As of August 2016 the level of exclusive interest in 60.71% for BN and 4.76% for the Opposition. This is a record high for BN and a record low for the Opposition since we began tracking these statistics in December 2012.

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Written by politweet

September 1, 2016 at 9:44 am

Facebook Census Update (Jan 2013): Pakatan Rakyat versus Barisan Nasional

In our December 2012 Census of Facebook Users in Malaysia, we included a comparison of likes for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Barisan Nasional (BN) for users aged above 21 years old. This did not explicitly include any politicians’ Pages.

We found that:

  • PR has more likes than BN in every age group.
  • PR has more male and female likes than BN in every age group. However the gap is narrow for female likes, which means BN can overtake PR in likes from potential women voters.
  • BN likes have grown at a faster rate than PR in November, narrowing the gap between both coalitions.
  • In November- BN’s highest growth was in men aged 21-30 years, while PR’s highest growth was in women aged 21-30 years

On January 1st 2013, we ran another census for PR and BN. We found that:

  • PR has more likes than BN in every age group.
  • PR has more male and female likes than BN in every age group.
  • BN likes grew at a faster rate in December compared to November, for both men and women.
  • BN gained more likes than PR in every age category for both men and women.
  • PR likes grew at a faster rate in December compared to November, but only for men. For women, PR’s growth rate reduced from 14.98% to 3.29%.
  • For women aged 21-30 years, PR growth was 14560 likes in November. In December, PR growth was only 1520 likes. This reduced growth rate applies to all age categories of women.
  • In December – BN’s highest growth was in men aged 21-30 years, while PR’s highest growth was in men aged 21-30 years
  • The gap for female likes has reduced further, with BN only 2160 likes away from overtaking PR for women aged 21-30 years.
  • PR’s fan-base has become more male-dominant, with the male/female ratio shifting from 209:100 to 217:100.
  • BN’s fan-base has become less male-dominant, with the male/female ratio shifting from 154:100 to 152:100.

Questions to think about:

  1. What did PR do in November to gain such a high increase in likes from women?
  2. What did PR do in December to increase its growth rate in likes from men, but greatly reduce its growth rate in likes from women?
  3. What did BN do in December to increase its growth rate in likes from both men and women?

Statistics

Barisan Nasional

Total likes: 428,540

Male/female ratio: 152:100

Pakatan Rakyat

Total likes: 606,820

Male/female ratio: 217:100

Graphs

PRvsBN_TotalFBLikesByAgeJan2013

PRvsBN_TotalFBLikesByAgeGenderJan2013

PRvsBN_GrowthFBLikesByAgeGenderDec2012

PRvsBN_GrowthFBLikesByAgeGenderNov2012

Methodology

Facebook’s advertising tools were used to collect data on the number of likes for each topic. The results are an estimate by Facebook based on the search criteria we used. We found the margin of error to be +/- 0.1%, though this can vary based on the topic.

Written by politweet

January 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Census of Facebook Users in Malaysia, Dec 2012

View this document on Scribd

The following is the executive summary, included in the Scribd document above.

Executive Summary

This document describes the population of Facebook users in Malaysia based on public information collected from Facebook.  The goal is to provide a point of reference for social media marketing and a report on Malaysian interest in politics.

Personal characteristics and interests in topics such as Pakatan Rakyat (PR), Barisan Nasional(BN), coalition leaders, Bersih, 1Malaysia and both mainstream media (MSM) and online alternative media publications were measured by age group and gender.

Users interested in a topic are considered the fan-base for that topic. Research focused on potential voters (users aged 21 years and above).

Findings

Malaysia has a total population of 13.5 million Facebook users. The population is male-dominant – 53% are male and 47% are female.

Out of the total population, 9 million are potential voters – 54% are male and 46% are female.

Results of the analysis show that men are more interested in politics than women, but the overall population has little interest in politics. Only 8.8% of total potential voters expressed interest in PR and BN parties.

The research drew attention to a possible relationship between the male-female ratios of each topic’s fan-base:

  • Female bias was present in the fan-base for Malay-language MSM, Chinese-language MSM.
  • Female bias was strongest in the fan-base for 1Malaysia.
  • Male bias was present in the fan-base for English-language MSM and Barisan Nasional parties.
  • Male bias was strongest in the fan-base for Pakatan Rakyat parties, Bersih and online alternative media.

For female-dominated topics, there is 1Malaysia and Malay-language MSM. The 1Malaysia brand is associated with BN and Malay-language MSM tends to give more coverage to BN parties.

For male-dominated topics, there is PR, Bersih and online alternative media. Bersih is a coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGO) seeking electoral reform. Bersih is strongly supported by PR. Online alternative media tends to give more coverage to PR parties compared to mainstream media.

PR’s fan-base is 1.5 times larger than BN’s fan-base. However the gap between BN and PR is small when it comes to women and PR’s fan-base is more male dominant compared to BN. This means that BN can overtake PR when it comes to potential women voters.

Conclusion

Population growth in November showed that both BN and PR’s fan-base were becoming less male-dominant. However BN started with a more favourable position in terms of gender balance.

Both 1Malaysia and Malay-language MSM have a female-dominant fan-base, which is a good market for BN to draw users from.

PR does not have a female-dominant source to draw from. Bersih and online alternative media are too male-dominant. The main source left to draw from are women who currently do not show an interest in politics, which is a challenge faced by both coalitions.

This places BN in a better position than PR to increase its share of interest from potential women voters.

Written by politweet

January 16, 2013 at 12:54 am